How to Zoom in Video in Premiere

Creating zoom video effects are a great way to add motion to a shot that is static. Shots that have motion in them are more visually interesting then shots that don't move. This is extremely useful when you're incorporating still images in your video, such as adding historical photos to a documentary. Ken Burns, a documentary filmmaker, is famous for doing this in his works. In fact, iMovie has made it easy for users to zoom in on their images and calls this the 'Ken Burns Effect'. So how do you do this in Premiere? It's actually pretty easy.

Select the Clip

The first step in any editing project is to lay out your clips in the order you wish for them to appear in the sequence. This should give you an idea on how everything will play together. It's important to be sure that this is what you really want to appear in the video before you spend any time on effects because you're just wasting time if it's going to end up on the cutting room floor.

Once you are positive about the clip think about how you want the zoom to appear. Will it start tight and then zoom out? Or are you going to zoom in on something specific as a narrator talks? The whole point of zooming is to explore what's in the photograph and you need to think about what you're going to do before you try to do it.

Using the Effect Controls

You don't need to use any effects from the effect bin to create the zoom. Instead, click on the clip you wish to use in the timeline. Then go to the 'Source Monitor' and select the 'Effect Controls Tab'. Through here you can control the 'Motion' and 'Opacity' of the clip. Click the triangle next to 'Motion' to bring down a menu of the specifics you can control.


The option that we're primarily concerned with is the 'Scale'. Next to the 'Scale' is a small graphic that looks like a stopwatch. Clicking on this sets Key Frames within the clip. Key frames are used to set beginning and end points for effects, as well as changes in direction, such as zoom in, then zoom out. 

Set a key frame for where you want the zoom to begin. Then move the timeline to the point you want the effect to end and set another key frame. Now we can change the scale. Let's say we want to zoom in. We leave the first key frame at it's value of 100% and then we set the second key frame at 150%. The clip will now zoom in. Keep in mind that you can only zoom in like that on high resolution images otherwise pixelation occurs.


The clip zooms in but not at the point we want. To change this we have to adjust the 'Position' values. Set a key frame at the beginning of the clip to make sure that position does not change. We then set another key frame at the end of the clip, under the scale key frame. We then drag the over sized frame so that the point we want to zoom in on is in the center.

Your still clip now has a pan and zoom effect added to it.

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